Boffins 3.0 rises resplendent

12 June 2018

Boffins has had a dramatic makeover, transformed from its daggy red carpet and diner-style booths to a slick, smart venue where you be would proud to take a dignitary or your family for a special occasion or anyone for anything really.

The new look Boffins was launched on 7 June with many of the ANU Executive present, keen to sample the new menu, which had not a trace of the previously popular brown sauce.

The vision for its restoration came from the new manager of University House - Matt Dowdney. He saw the potential to restore the venue to its previous status as a 'sort of jewel in the ANU crown', according to the Master of University House, Peter Kanowski.

The process of polishing and upgrading the venue led to a few surprises. One was a spectacular Queensland walnut parquetry floor, hidden away under other floor coverings and very sad looking. The floor has now been restored to its previous spectacular glory.

A mix of new and old decorations adorn the walls, such as the Boffins panel, now behind the bar. A new decoration is an artwork Stress by artist Martin Rowney. It was inspired by the work of female scientists at JCSMR, and was made from fittings recovered from the original building that housed them.

The use of smoked glass light fittings and 1950s style wall lights create and ambience that is reflective of the past with a modern twist.

The spaces are flexible with a private dining room - for your special occasions or to take your VIP guests, and more casual dining in other areas. Sliding panels allow for privacy if needed in a larger setting than offered by the dining room.

The menu is intended to showcase the best of local cuisine. University House has hired new chefs and teamed up with local and regional producers from small farms around Canberra who offer produce that is both local and in season.

"We will let the food tell us what the menu should be," Kanowski announced proudly.

This author crept around sampling the offerings for the evening. The food was exquisite with fresh clean flavours that were surprising.

Shoalhaven oysters were teamed with shiso and yuzu.  Soba noodles were put on forks with house-made sambal, Romanesco (a light green broccoli) and petrified scallop on the top. Mushrooms were made in some way that was incredibly delicious. There were delicious cheeses, and duck breast with blackberry and liquorice. For desert an earl grey pannacotta with rhubarb.

Boffins will open for public dining in a few weeks.